Asthma is a phenotypically heterogeneous disease. In severe asthma, airway inflammation can be predominantly eosinophilic, neutrophilic, or mixed. Only a limited number of drug candidates are in development to address this unmet clinical need. Live biotherapeutics derived from the gut microbiota are a promising new therapeutic area. MRx0004 is a commensal Bifidobacterium breve strain isolated from the microbiota of a healthy human. The strain was tested prophylactically and therapeutically by oral gavage in a house dust mite mouse model of severe asthma. A strong reduction of neutrophil and eosinophil infiltration was observed in lung bronchoalveolar lavage fluid following MRx0004 treatment. Peribronchiolar and perivascular immunopathology was also reduced. MRx0004 increased lung CD4+CD44+ cells and CD4+FoxP3+ cells and decreased activated CD11b+ dendritic cells. Cytokine analysis of lung tissue revealed reductions of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines involved in neutrophil migration. In comparison, anti-IL-17 antibody treatment effectively reduced neutrophilic infiltration and increased CD4+FoxP3+ cells, but it induced lung eosinophilia and did not decrease histopathology scores. We have demonstrated that MRx0004, a microbiota-derived bacterial strain, can reduce both neutrophilic and eosinophilic infiltration in a mouse model of severe asthma. This novel therapeutic is a promising next-generation drug for management of severe asthma.
- Journal Article